Ashura (Arabic: عاشوراء ʻĀshūrā’) means the 10th day. This is a mourning day for the Shia muslims as they commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SM) and the third Shia Imam. To Sunni Muslims also has importance of this day for some events that happened in pre Islamic era.
When is Ashura in 2014?
In Islamic calendar, Ashura is observed on the 10th day of the month of Muharram. In 2014, Ashura will be observed by the Muslims including North America on Monday, the 3rd of November.
Since the Islamic days starts from the sunset, the Ashura day will be started from the sunset of Sunday, the 2nd November and remain until the sunset of 3rd November.
Observing Ashura may vary 1 day from country to country since the Islamic calendar days starting depends on the sight of the moon. See here for more details islamic-calendar
See also Ashura 2013
The history of the day of Ashura
On this day, Imam Husayn ibn Ali was martyred on the battle field of Karbala (in Iraq) in the year 61 Hijri (680 AD). Imam Husayn ibn Ali was the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (SM). He was the third Shia Imam at that time. This battle was against the army of Yazid (the third Caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate) as Yazid was openly going against the lesson of Islam and was altering the teaching of Prophet Muhammad (SM).
Imam Husayn ibn Ali was encountered by the Yazid’s big group of army, which is said to be around 100,000 where Imam Husayn ibn Ali’s army was less than 100 in Kufa on this day of Ashura (10th Muharram in 61 Hijri (680 AD). Most of the member of Imam Husayn ibn Ali was killed in thirst although there was a nearby river Euphrates which was blocked by the Yazid army and accesses to this river was restricted to the people of Imam Husayn ibn Ali. As found in the Islamic history that Imam Husayn ibn Ali was murdered as brutally as his body was mutilated. The tomb of Husain ibn Ali is in Iraq.
Observance of Ashura
Shia Muslims observe this day as a mourning day of martyrdom of Imam Husayn ibn Ali. They arrange commemoration parade in the remembrance of this day particularly in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and Pakistan.
Sunni Muslims also observe this day for some pre Islamic events that took place in this day of Ashura.
Both Shia and Sunni Muslims do optional fasting on Ashura as instructed by Prophet Muhammad (SM).
Some Muslims countries declare public holiday on Ashura such as Jordan, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and The United Arab Emirates.